And yet, we know that when human beings are involved, all findings are provisional. Odd.
To expand on Michael Witmore’s comments in his previous post, it is indeed odd how provisional our results are. Case in point: I have been examining what John Burrows and Hugh Craig have called the “ideolects” of characters in connection with the plays in which they appear. I stumbled upon this idea while looking at Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and asking how the language of the title characters may be steering this play towards tragedy or comedy. (This was done as for a panel I presented on with Witmore and William Blake for a digital salon at UW-Madison.) Witmore and Blake are themselves working on an analysis of Hamlet without the prince, and the 1 Henry plays/Merry Wives of Windsor without Falstaff: we’re all interested in this kind of “subtraction experiment.” To see my initial findings using this techniques, you can visit my blog, All Is True.